Kin Claim Oxygen Shortage Led to Deaths of 10 Covid-19 Patients in Two Maharashtra Hospitals

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Relatives of 10 COVID-19 patients who succumbed at two hospitals in adjoining Palghar district alleged that a shortage of oxygen led to the deaths, a charge denied by civic authorities and the management of the medical facilities on Tuesday. On Monday, seven coronavirus patients died in Vinayaka Hospital, located in Nalasopara east, while three others succumbed in Riddhi Vinayak Hospital, which is in the western part of the township, some 60 kilometres from Mumbai.

Angry relatives of the patients claimed that a lack of oxygen supply at the hospitals led to the deaths. The issue got escalated after former mayor of Vasai Virar Municipal Corporation Rajeev Patil, in an audio clip, claimed that a shortage of oxygen, required for treatment of critical patients, led to the deaths at the hospitals, which fall under the jurisdiction of the civic body.

Refuting the allegations, Kishore Gavas, deputy commission, Vasai Virar Municipal Corporation, on Tuesday said the deaths occurred as the patients were critical. Both hospitals have ample oxygen stock, the civic official said.

Seconding Gavas, a release from Vinayaka Hospital said it has "a huge supply of oxygen" and, hence, the cause of death of these patients being attributed to its shortage was "factually incorrect". "We have received oxygen supply from the (civic) corporation and like us there is no shortage of the oxygen in any other hospital as well.

"Hence, the shortage of the life-saving gas is not the reality here," the hospital's release added. On Monday, a large number of people had gathered at the hospitals after word spread that the deaths were caused due to a shortage of medical oxygen.

Police personnel were deployed in strength to prevent any untoward incident, a police official said had said. Former BJP MP Kirit Somaiya had tweeted that seven COVID-19 patients died at a hospital in Nallasopara due to "defect in oxygen supply".

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